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Students Struggle On FCAT Math & Reading Tests

By: Florida Department of Education Email
By: Florida Department of Education Email

Associated Press Release

TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (AP) -- Many Florida students continue to struggle on high-stakes tests in reading and math.

The Florida Department of Education reported Friday that nearly half of the 9th and 10th graders who took the reading portion of the Florida Comprehensive Assessment Test did not get a passing grade.

The reading scores for those grades were a slight improvement over last year -- but the scores of fourth and fifth graders slipped from 2012. Sixty percent of students in those grades passed the FCAT reading test.

The percentage of students in grades 4 through 8 who passed the FCAT math test also declined from last year.

The state reported the percentage of students taking the end-of-course algebra and biology tests increased.

FCAT scores are the primary factor in determining A-to-F grades for schools.


Press Release: Florida Department of Education

Tallahassee, Fla., June 7, 2013 – The Florida Department of Education today released results of the FCAT 2.0 Grades 4-10 Reading, Grades 4-8 Mathematics and Grades 5 and 8 Science, as well as End-of-Course (EOC) assessments in Algebra 1, Geometry, Biology 1 and U.S. History Results show overall performance on EOCs improved across the board, with Biology 1 and Geometry making the most improvement. Performance also improved for all subgroups with Algebra 1 and Geometry showing the most subgroup gains.

Statewide, student achievement on FCAT 2.0 Reading increased in grades 6, 8, 9 and 10, with grade 10 students making the most improvement. For FCAT 2.0 Mathematics, grade 4 saw an increase in student achievement, while in FCAT 2.0 Science, grade 5 also saw an increase and grade 8 remained the same.

“These results show that where we put our focus is where we see our progress,” said Commissioner of Education Dr. Tony Bennett. “While there are gains to celebrate today, we have a lot of work to do and it is not time to lower our expectations for success. We have a clear path forward as Florida shifts to the Common Core State Standards and an emphasis on helping all students think analytically and critically.”

Algebra 1

Student performance at Achievement Level 3 and above increased in every grade tested except adult and for all subgroups. Statewide, the percentage of first-time test takers scoring Level 3 and above increased six percentage points, up from 58 percent for spring 2012 to 64 percent in spring 2013. Eleventh-grade students showed the largest gains, with a nine percentage point increase in the percentage scoring Level 3 and above, followed by students in grades 8, 9, 10, and 12 all making a four percentage point increase. Students in grades 6, 7 and 8 led all first-time test takers in the percentage of students scoring Level 3 and above.

Spring 2012 and Spring 2013 Algebra 1 EOC Assessment Results

The percentage of first-time test takers scoring at Achievement Level 3 and above also increased for each subgroup, with African-American students showing the most gains with a 10 percentage point jump. Conversely, the percentage of students scoring at Achievement Level 1 decreased for each subgroup with English Language Learners making the most improvement with a nine percentage point reduction.

Thirty-three percent of Florida’s students scored Level 4 or higher on the Algebra 1 EOC, up from 26 percent last year. Hispanic and White students made the most improvement, with an eight percentage point increase over last year. Achievement Level 4 or higher indicates a student is high achieving and has the potential to meet college readiness standards by the time he or she graduates from high school.

Geometry

Statewide, 64 percent of students taking the Geometry EOC for the first time scored at Achievement Level 3 and above in spring 2013, an eight percentage point increase after applying the new standards to last year’s spring results. Tenth graders showed the most improvement, with an eight percentage point increase from 2012, followed by ninth graders with a seven percentage point increase after applying the new standards approved by the State Board of Education in December 2012.

Note: To provide meaningful results and to protect the privacy of individual students, data are not reported when the total number of students in a group is fewer than 10 or when all the students in a group are in the same category (i.e., all in the same Achievement Level). An asterisk (*) appears when data are suppressed.

The percentage of first-time test takers scoring at Achievement Level 3 and above also increased for each subgroup, with African-American students making the most gains with a 10 percentage point increase. The percentage of students scoring at Achievement Level 1 decreased for each subgroup, with English Language Learners leading the way with the most improvement.

The percent of all students scoring Level 4 or higher jumped from 26 percent in 2012 to 33 percent in 2013. Hispanic and White students made the most gains with an eight percentage point increase. Achievement Level 4 or higher indicates a student is high achieving and has the potential to meet college readiness standards by the time he or she graduates from high school.

Biology 1

Sixty-seven percent of first-time test takers statewide who took the Biology 1 EOC scored at Achievement Level 3 and above in spring 2013. This is an eight percentage point increase from spring 2012 after applying the new standards established by the State Board of Education in December 2012. Students in grades 10 and 11 made the most improvement with each group jumping 9 percentage points from the previous year.

Note: To provide meaningful results and to protect the privacy of individual students, data are not reported when the total number of students in a group is fewer than 10 or when all the students in a group are in the same category (i.e., all in the same Achievement Level). An asterisk (*) appears when data are suppressed.

The percentage of first-time test takers scoring at Achievement Level 3 and above improved for each subgroup. African-American students led the way with a nine percentage point increase over last year. In addition, the percentage of students scoring in Level 1 decreased for each subgroup, with English Language Learners showing the most gains.

The percentage of Florida students scoring at Achievement Level 4 and above increased across all subgroups. Achievement Level 4 or higher indicates a student is high achieving and has the potential to meet college readiness standards by the time he or she graduates from high school.

U.S. History

Spring 2013 was the first statewide administration of the U.S. History EOC. Students receive a score on a scale of 20-80, which is called a T-score. On the T-score scale, an approximate score of 50 is the statewide average. Scores are reported in thirds, with 1 being the lowest and 3 being the highest. T-scores are only reported the first year of a statewide test administration.

FCAT 2.0 Reading

Statewide, student achievement in reading increased in grades 6, 8, 9, and 10, with Grade 10 students making the most gains. The percentage of students scoring at Achievement Level 3 or above on Grade 10 FCAT 2.0 Reading increased 4 percentage points, from 50 percent to 54 percent. African American, Hispanic, White and English Language Learners all made improvements.

FCAT 2.0 Mathematics

Statewide, Grade 4 student achievement on FCAT 2.0 Mathematics increased one percentage point, with 61 percent scoring at Achievement Level 3 and above. Students with disabilities improved their percent of students scoring at Achievement Level 3 and above by one percentage point.

FCAT 2.0 Science

This is the first year FCAT 2.0 Science scores are based on new achievement level standards. Last year, students took the FCAT 2.0 Science assessment, but their scores were based on the old FCAT standards. In 2012, FCAT 2.0 scores were reported as FCAT Equivalent Scores since achievement levels had not yet been set for FCAT 2.0 Science. The State Board of Education established new achievement levels for FCAT 2.0 Science in December 2012. For comparison purposes, the 2012 scores were retrofitted to the new standards.

Statewide, the percent of grade 5 students scoring at Achievement Level 3 and above on FCAT 2.0 Science increased one percentage point when applying the new achievement standards.

For more information about this year’s FCAT 2.0 and End-of-Course results, visit http://fcat.fldoe.org/resultsFCAT2/default.asp and http://fcat.fldoe.org/mediapacket/2013/default.asp.

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For more information about the Florida Department of Education, visit www.fldoe.org.


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